Click Here to download the Earthdog Brochure


What on Earth is Earthdog?

Earthdog is an instinct test for small Terriers, Dachshunds and other breeds that were originally bred to enter and work in underground tunnels and burrows constructed by vermin or “quarry”. Many Terriers and Dachshunds were originally bred to hunt, chase, go to ground and flush quarry of one kind or another, such as rats, foxes, otters, and badgers. The sport of Earthdog allows these dogs to use their natural instincts in a safe, simulated hunting environment where they can have fun and earn titles too.

The Earthdog Test offers a standardised gauge to measure the natural hunting and working abilities where dogs are required to follow an underground maze using their keen sense of smell.  This is a sport that is great fun for dogs originally bred to work underground and allows dogs to express their natural instinct to dig without sacrificing your yard!

Earthdogs are tested on their ability to enter the den, find their way to the quarry through a series of turns and tunnels, and work the quarry. These challenges gradually increase in difficulty at each level of competition.

Dens are constructed as a series of trenches dug in the earth, into which 3-sided liners are fitted to configure the tunnels to suit the test difficulty. The liners are in sections and have wooden roof and sides, the floor is exposed dirt. This means that tunnels are totally safe and cannot collapse.

There are nine titles available for Earthdogs:

  • Earthdog Instinct Certificate (EIC)
  • Junior Earthdog (JE)
  • Senior Earthdog (SE)
  • Master Earthdog (ME)
  • Earthdog Champion (ED.Ch)
  • Earthdog Grand Champion (ED.Gr Ch)
  • Strong Dog Instinct Title (SDI)
  • Strong Dog Junior (SDJ)
  • Strong Dog Excellent Title (SDE)

In the Earthdog Instinct Certificate test the total length of the den is only 3 metres with one corner, increasing in complexity to Masters level where there are over 9 metres of tunnel with multiple turns, exits, false dens, a constriction and an obstruction.


Which Dogs Can Take Part?

Dogs Australia-registered eligible breeds of six months age or older may participate participate in Earthdog tests, whether Mains or Limited Registered. Associate registered dogs that are “of Earthdog type” are also eligible to enter the Earthdog Test after successfully qualifying at an Earthdog Instinct Certificate test at least once.

Extract from the Rules for the Conduct of Earthdog Tests for Small Terriers and Dachshunds (effective from 1st January 2022) Section 1.4.3:

The following breeds are classified as eligible to participate in Dogs Australia Earthdog tests:

  • Australian Terriers
  • Australian Silky Terriers
  • Bedlington Terriers
  • Border Terriers
  • Cairn Terriers
  • Chinese Crested Dogs
  • Dachshunds (all varieties)
  • English Toy Terriers
  • Fox Terriers (Smooth and Wire)
  • German Hunting Terriers
  • Glen of Imaal Terriers
  • Jack Russell Terriers
  • Lakeland Terriers
  • Manchester Terriers
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Norfolk Terriers
  • Norwich Terriers
  • Parson Russell Terrier
  • Portuguese Podengo (Small)
  • Schipperke
  • Schnauzer (Miniature)
  • Scottish Terriers
  • Sealyham Terriers
  • Skye Terriers
  • Tenterfield Terriers
  • Welsh Terriers
  • West Highland White Terriers
  • Yorkshire Terriers


Where Does it Happen?

All Earthdog tests are held at the Dogs Queensland Showgrounds, 247 King Ave, Durack.  The Earhdog area is the fenced enclosure at the rear of the complex adjacent the Lure Coursing field.


Who Offers Earthdog Tests and Training?

The Sporting Terrier Club of Queensland is the primary club offering several training and test events throughout the year, as advertised on Showmanager and the QLD Earthdog FB group.


How can I get involved?


DOGS NSW Earthdog Working Party
Secretary - Christine Stani - 0433 127 245

Dachshund Club of NSW Inc.
Earthdog Co-ordinator - Douglas McKay - (02) 9974 5572

Jack Russell Terrier Club of NSW
Earthdog Co-ordinator - Alison Abbott - (02) 6329 4244, 0411 103 096

Border Terrier Club of NSW Inc.
Secretary - Mr Gregory Lamb - 0419 222 661

There is also a Facebook page for the sport in Australia which is kept up to date with all activities and events.